A substantial portion of Frisco, Texas-based Fujitsu Transaction Solutions’ revenue falls under the RoHS and WEEE directives. As the Fujitsu Ltd.’s subsidiary prepared to comply with the Euro laws, it decided to take up the compliance challenge as a move to gain marketshare. “As the company has improved it preparedness, it has begun capturing competitive advantages, taking the form of design changes and building relationships,” says Eric Karofsky, an analyst at AMR Research Inc. in Boston who studied Fujitsu’s environmental compliance strategies.
As part of its compliance strategy, Fujitsu started a dialog with customers about the European regulations and its preparation to comply. Since its competitors didn’t initiate a similar conversation with customers, Fujitsu gained an edge as a trusted supplier out to help its customers through the compliance hurdles. “This helped turn Fujitsu into a trusted partner rather than simply a supplier, and it also has exposed Fujitsu to additional decision-makers,” says Karofsky. “Ordinarily the company has access to operations personnel and possibly the CIO, but in discussing risk exposure allow Fujitsu access to its customers’ legal council and the CFO.”
The company created a detailed plan to move to compliance. First it created a steering committee. The team included the senior vice president with profit and loss responsibility. The committee was led by the person who managed the company’s Y2K transformation. Thirty cross-functional people became part of the team. The group was then split into three teams, one to focus on WEEE, one to look at RoHS, and one that concentrated on supplier and design issues.
In March of this year, Fujitsu contacted its 200-plus suppliers to create a dialog. “Central to the discussion was the understanding of the supplier’s conversion plans,” says Karofsky. “Unfortunately, a small sample had yet to define timeliness to compliance. As a result, Fujitsu dropped vendors and sourced replacement parts.”
Karofsky notes that in January 2006, the company expects to start certifying components, assembling products and testing for functionality and reliability. “The company estimates that it will roughly double its engineering force to accommodate these processes,” says Karofsky. “It also has developed mitigation plans for product redesign to rectify component sourcing and performance problems.”
Karofsky believes the advanced planning and continual communication with customers has allowed Fujitsu to make lemonade of compliance lemons. “The company is winning new accounts because of its preparation and collaboration,” says Karofsky. “Simultaneously, it is changing its supply base because vendors cannot deliver to the environmental standards.”